Spring is officially here in San Francisco. And as the days get longer and warmer, I find myself dreaming of long afternoons spent in the sunshine, lounging by the pool with a good book and a journal at the ready. Sporting colorful art of bathers swimming in cool blue waters, Jing Wei’s Divers Journal is the perfect poolside companion.
Jing Wei is a brilliantly talented artist based in Brooklyn. She creates beautiful prints from hand-carved woodblocks that give her art a rough, inky quality you can tell is handmade.
A snapshot of one of her hand-carved woodblocks.
Jing has an eye for detail, and this journal is full of fun little surprises. I love the colorful perimeters on the interior! Those little swim goggles? Hilarious.
I asked Jing how she uses her own Divers Journal, and discovered that she brings that same sense of play to her make process. Play, zombies, and googly eyes, that is. Take a peek inside her journal to see what I mean below.
I’ve always gone through phases with sketchbooking. Most of the time, my sketchbook is what I use to figure out ideas and compositions for jobs, so I’m used to seeing it as a part of a bigger process. But recently, I’ve realized how important it is to be able to make work for fun, experiment, and not have any expectations for the results. It’s a great way to keep your work fresh, and stumble upon small breakthroughs with little risk. So when I was asked to participate in this feature, I knew it would be a good push for me to actually do what I otherwise would have kept putting off! I loved working in the Divers Journal because none of the pages felt too precious, and the variety of borders made it easy to jump around and try different things. I hate when I buy a sketchbook that I never touch because it is too beautiful and would probably be instantly ruined by the addition of my drawings. So this definitely fits my sketchbook requirements of being durable, but also pleasant to look at.
So here’s what I ended up with:
These were mostly bits and pieces that were resurrected from a graveyard of rejected client sketches. The page of plants, for example, were inspired by old pattern sketches that were never fully resolved. By redrawing and recomposing the individual elements, it becomes something new. It’s also a good exercise to draw different things within one category, or draw one thing several different ways. It (hopefully) curbs stagnation, and keeps me from being too repetitive.
It’s always been easier for me to use writing to generate ideas, instead of thumbnails. It’s usually the first thing I do when I start a new assignment. I’ll lay out the prompt, and immediately jot down everything that comes to mind. This also helps eliminate the bad ideas right away. So by the time I actually get around to sketching, I already have a pretty good idea of what I want the piece to look like.
Collaging is the best. I’ve been slowly building a library of hand-printed paper, which I keep both at the studio and at home. I feel like I have a lot of freedom with collage, as opposed to drawing and painting. For me, it has a similar appeal to printmaking. You work with individual layers until it all comes together at the end. Along the way, there is lots of room for improvisation. I would really like to make a whole book of these little collages, all done outside of the studio. And I will try to not watch so much Walking Dead in the process, so the whole thing isn’t filled with zombies.
Oh and lastly – I love googly eyes!
Thanks Jing for letting us peek inside your journal!
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